Capitalism on Campus examines the university’s journey into market hands and the sexual sell-off of students, which has come with it. It raises critical questions about the forces which conjoin higher education to both sex work and declining academic freedom. In so doing it questions the role our institutions of learning have in the cultivation of resistance to capitalism. This is a call to rediscover the emancipatory potential of knowledge.
REVIEWS & ENDORSEMENTS
This is not for the faint of heart or for the overly sensitive reader. Roberts touches on strong issues and expresses his opinion with fervor and intensity. Recommended for a reader with an open mind, who is willing to see and try to understand another's viewpoint on a hot button topic. ~ Erica Watkins, NetGalley
Capitalism on Campus: Sex Work, Academic Freedom, and the Market by Ron Roberts is an examination of the recent changes in British universities. Roberts is Chartered Psychologist with over thirty years experience in higher education. He has previously worked at King’s College, University College London, St Bartholomew’s Medical College, The Tavistock Institute, QMW, the University of Westminster, and Kingston University.
Higher education is making the news in the US and Britain seems to mirror the US example. In the US there is almost $1.5 Trillion in student debt the number is lower for Britain but the debt per student is higher, in fact, the highest in the world. In 1997 the average debt was under 5,000 Pounds today it is over 50,000 Pounds. The education process has become warped. No longer are universities places to encourage thinking and discovery but have become places where ratings override learning. It is seen in American public schools with standardized testing where teachers are pressed to teach students how to pass exams rather than learn. Colleges have a ranking system that is somewhat similar. The better your school the better your chances of landing a good job. The problems occur when students are coached into making the school appear better than encouraging learning. Schools are being administered by bureaucrats that care more for image than substance.
Although sex work takes the first position in the subtitle it is not the main concentration of the book. In 1970s movies occasionally a detective would be searching for the bad guy and end up in a strip club. He would talk to one of the girls and find out she was a university student, usually sociology, she would pass on the information and hint that tuition, job outlook, or some other reason forced her to work as a dancer, but she would conclude it is going to make a great thesis. Today that rarity has become much more common with an alarming amount of students who know someone involved in sex work. The internet makes it even easier today. Sex work offers a temporary, high paying job that takes less time than a traditional campus job. Also, students involved in sex work spend more time studying according to the research. Universities fight against sex work as immoral but really it has more to do with the school’s image than a students reputation.
Education has evolved from learning institutions to marketable products that care more about image and standing rather than the quality of the output. America boomed after WWII when returning GIs went to college. A higher education was the ticket out of the factory job. Today in the US education is costly and seen by many as a waste. To complicate that the factory jobs are also gone. What was once a large middle class is now an endangered species. The good paying jobs are gone and education is too expensive. Roberts’ look at the British example is scholarly. It is not light reading but more akin to a research paper. Documentation runs through the text which primary purpose is to present facts rather than deliver a smooth narrative.
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Robert’s text provides an accessible expose of the impact that market relations have upon British Universities and their students and makes a significant contribution to the body of work concerned with students' involvement in the commercial sex industry. Highly recommended. ~ Dr Billie Lister, University of Hull
Making unique links between higher education and commercial sex, this book pushes the boundaries of both economic thinking and the politicisation of our universities. A much needed critique of what has become of our universities, which lays bare the bleak scenario for students. Engaging commentary is backed up by detailed reflections on the empirical knowledge we have on student sex work. This is essential reading for those concerned with economics, politics and student life as we enter new territory in both education and the sex industry. ~ Prof. Teela Sanders, University of Leicester